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So I spent all Saturday evening brewing an oatmeal stout (Slow Elk clone). I pitched WPL002 into it which had been purchased ~8hours earlier. There was no activity after 24 hours, and after ~48 hours there were patches of white mold-looking stuff floating on the top (still no activity). Unfortunately, I was on my way to a 36-hour shift at work and could not attend to it.

Got home Tuesday night, and there is about a 3/4 inch layer of foam "head" on the wort but *still* no activity in the fermlock. I opened it, and it has a strange odor, sort of like Campbell's vegetable soup. I was thinking about boiling and re-pitching, but I don't feel like putting all that effort in for something that's going to taste nasty.

I've got to make a decision tonight--boil or dump it. Any advice?
 

The Pol

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No fermenting... but "mold" looking stuff that early on? If you didnt make a starter for a liquid yeast, it COULD take 84 hours to start. BUT, it sounds like perhaps you have an infection at this point. You need to make starters for liquid yeasts for this very reason.
 

McKBrew

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It sounds like everything is OK. What are you brewing in? If it's a bucket it is very possible that you didn't have have a tight seal and the CO2 is escaping out the lid and not through the airlock.
 

newguy

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For all that is good and holy dont dump your beer! Always hold out and when in doubt give it a week or more then have another look...sample and go from there. :)
 
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Please RDWHAHB! Fermentation is weird, sometimes really weird. It's unlikely that an infection caused so much visible activity so quickly. Let the beer run its course, and if you're really in doubt, bottle it at an appropriate time and send it to me.
 
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T
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Allright-

1. I did not take an OG, unfortunately. Current gravity is 1030. REcipe says OG is supposed to be ~1040.

2. I am brewing in a sealed carboy. There was, as far as I can tell, no activity. (The water didn't even move up the seal, as though there were increased pressure)

3. I didn't use a starter. I think I might start, though. This is the second time this has happened, although I didn't get the weird layer of funk on top of it last time.


If there is an infection, do you think it could foul the flavor enough that boiling it wouldn't be able to save it?
 
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Allright, so while pouring out some of it to taste/smell/look at/check gravity, I noticed (like a total dumbass) that there was a fairly good layer of trub on the bottom. From this I figure that the foam head must have been true fermentation, and I should have followed Yuri's advice above in the first place. I'm going to boil the stuff I took out (~2 gallons), cool it, put it back in, and shake it to stir up the trub and put some o2 back in it.
 

TheJadedDog

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It sounds to me like you had active fermentation and the foam you saw was krausen. Airlock activity is not an indication of fermentation or lack of fermentation! Going forward, always use your hydrometer, not the airlock, to determine whether or not you have fermentation.
 

BrewDey

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When the fermentation is just starting to get going, the initial bubbles that come to the surface are very small, and sometimes resemble mold. If you came back and you had a thick layer of foam, then the yeast is kicking. As far as the airlock activity-you likely have an air leak in the seal between the lid and the bucket...most likely OK. The smells can be pretty crazy depending on the ingredients, the temp, and the yeast...I'd just chill and let it run it's course.
 

ohiodad

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Brewing Clamper said:
Next time make a starter, but for now, just chill, let it do it's thing...
I would say even more important than make a starter RELAX! Don't even get worried about an airlock until 72 hours if you aren't making a starter... I cringed at the number of times you opened that thing up and exposed it to contamination. Seal that puppy up and let it sit. If you don't see activity after 72 hours repitch... That's my advice..
 

Beerthoven

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Toadkiller Dog said:
I'm going to boil the stuff I took out (~2 gallons), cool it, put it back in, and shake it to stir up the trub and put some o2 back in it.
STOP! LEAVE THE BEER ALONE!

I can't imagine that this is going to do anything good at all for your beer.

Cover the carboy up so you can't see it. Leave it where it is for 3 more weeks, then bottle your beer.

While you are waiting, read this from cover to cover: http://www.howtobrew.com/sitemap.html
 

jonbeck14

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brloomis said:
STOP! LEAVE THE BEER ALONE!

I can't imagine that this is going to do anything good at all for your beer.

Cover the carboy up so you can't see it. Leave it where it is for 3 more weeks, then bottle your beer.

While you are waiting, read this from cover to cover: http://www.howtobrew.com/sitemap.html
Wow, I paid money for this in a printed form! I agree though, read that book (or website). It's full of great info.
 
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